Review : Metronomy - The English Riviera
RoyalroyalblogMetronomy has anyways been one of my favorite acts, much in the same category as Hot Chip and Friendly Fires (only weirder and less commercial). Their single “Heartbreaker” is one of my top 10 played songs. But for everything the single had in it, the rest of the album, “Nights Out,” fell flat. Some songs held up to a good level, but for the most part the rest of the album was disappointingly forgettable.
This is not the case with their most recent album, “The English Riviera.” We find that Metronomy has grown leaps and bounds in maturity. The album feels cohesive, yet remains a vast array of sounds and influences that really speak to how hard the threesome has been working since losing a band member. It’s almost as if his departure has, in some way, helped the band. This is an album I prefer to listen to straight through – much like “Plastic Beach” by Gorillaz. It just flows.
“The English Riviera” starts us out just there – The English Riviera. A rather haunting duo of violins plays an oddly sad piece, as if to wave off a friend lost at sea. But that sentiment is abruptly shaken off and Metronomy gets to what it’s best known for – quirky, electronic, cool songs. A deep bass slowly replaces the violins playing on top of wailing seagulls. The track “We Broke Free” blends slowly from the riviera, and hits with our first taste of the new sound of Metronomy. It’s an insanely sexy and sleek song – one you imagine walking down a wet street at night listening to. The song has a real sense of funk infused from the initial bass line that really keeps it moving.
The bass line rests and “Everything Goes My Way” starts up. An almost Feist-like quality to it, it’s about as indie folk as Metronomy can sound – and it sounds natural – in the way “Nights Out” didn’t at times. It’s a happy and cute song too, sure to catch the eye of some soundtracks (a la 300 Days Of Summer).
Anna leads us out to “The Look” – one of the best singles so far this year. This is “Heartbreaker” with a heart of gold. The song is instantly danceable, yet so rich in unique quality and immersive sound that it’s hard not to be sad listening to this song. Easily the best on the album. Check it out below....full text
The-flyAfter the bleary-eyed paean to debauchery that was ‘Nights Out’ in 2008, Metronomy have done some changing. New band members (drummer Anna Prior and bassist Gbenga Adelekan) were introduced after Gabriel Stebbing’s departure, and a new album has been recorded, but what does it sound like? Ben Homewood donned his jazz shoes to follow Joe Mount and the gang to the disco...
‘The English Riviera’
If this is the disco then we’ve had one too many disco biscuits (the man said they were Party Rings…). Seagulls chirp and waves lap against the shore as sun-dappled strings ebb and flow with the tide. Is this building towards something beautiful? It’s only 37 seconds long so there’s not much time to make up your mind before…
‘We Broke Free’
Too late, the strings have already segued effortlessly into track two. A hint of bass and a lilting guitar line and Joe’s back, “get yourself fixed up/I’ll take you out round town/I swear you’ll never witness anything quite as fine,” he sings, as we strap ourselves in. His vocal is pitched high and wonderfully mournful as ever, “Stood on this hill/I used to think of you and that one day we’d get together,” is the line as sweeping electronics wash over shimmering drum rolls. It loops around and around before a crunchy guitar solo and some twinkling keys caress one another as it edges to a close.
‘Everything Goes My Way’
Bubbling synths whirr into life then give way to Caribbean drums and bass. What’s that between our toes? Why it’s glorious golden sand. Anna Prior’s vocal and the backing “ooh ooh oohs” to and fro like a sleeping beauty in a hammock, it might sound like The Research (remember them?), but this is easily as refreshing as a six-pack of Lilt. “Love, I’m in love agaaaaaiiinn,” coos Anna as a remarkably laid-back number floats to a close....full text
GuardianMetronomy leader Joe Mount rather grandly "splits his time between London and Paris" these days, but it's Totnes, Devon – his hometown – that's been on his mind lately. The album's title and its music are a homage to Mount's native south-west – but it's a sunny, west coastified version, in which cool people drink tequila sunrises and Steely Dan tunes waft out of seafront bars. The English Riviera is miles removed from the glowstick-waving indie-dance that previously characterised Metronomy – instead, it piles on ambling good vibes and darts of sweet synth, along with basslines that sculpt songs into various shapes: Latin-funky on Everything Goes My Way (a completely gorgeous duet by Mount and guest vocalist Roxanne Clifford), soft-rocky on Trouble. Their nu-rave past is revisited on The Look and Loving Arm, and sits surprisingly easily alongside the FM radio feel of the rest of the record, probably thanks to the charm that permeates every last moment of this album....full text
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